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Controller

  • boxart
    Hardware Info:

    Custom PS4 Controller
    Made by: The Controller People
    Price: $70+

    Thank you The Contoller People for sending us a controller to review!

    The Controller People offer many colors and customizations to official Sony PS4 controllers. They are based in the UK and provide a fourteen-day hassle free return period and a six-month warranty on their products. You can buy a controller directly from them or send yours in for modification. Though everything is listed in British pounds, the prices are very competitive. There are many attractive preset controllers in chrome, matte, and polished designs. If none of those strike your fancy, you can customize your own with their easy to use Build Shop page.

    A base controller costs a little over $58 USD and each change raises the price a bit. There are ten different colors you can select for the triggers, front/back shell, L1/R1 buttons, option/share buttons, touch pad, D-Pad, PS and face buttons. If you have the symbols memorized you can have the buttons blanked out for aesthetics. Another available cosmetic enhancement is the DexiDisk which transforms the D-pad into a sharp looking circular interface.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Innovative designs at a reasonable price
    Weak Points: 14 day refund only applies for UK customers

    Besides the DexiDisk, other modifications offered by The Controller People include:

    GripClips - Helps prevent sweaty hands by providing a patterned rubber like clip for the back of the controller.

    Spring Stop Triggers - Reduced travel distance for the triggers to increase your speed in FPS games.

    Interchangeable Analog System - Change the height of your analog sticks by unclipping the thumbstick. The analog sticks can be set to 3 different heights (standard, medium, and tall). Extended thumbstick grips are available as well for less money.

    ClickSticks - A paddle system that adds an additional two buttons at the back of the controller. They are easily accessible and are activated by pressing downward.

    The controller sent our way is white and purple with black GripClips and purple ClickSticks in the back. I requested purple since that is my favorite color. I also went with the default ClickStick mapping of X and O. The rest of the controller was left as a surprise. The white buttons look sharp and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they all glowed in the dark! The only thing I would do differently next time around would be to have the buttons labeled. Apparently, there is an option to remove the rumble, but thankfully it was left in place for me.

    custom ps4 controller

    Included with my controller was a configuration card letting me know about the button configurations and features implemented. There was also a sealed bag containing the analog sticks of varying heights that easily snap into place on the controller. I preferred the lowest height and keeping it as close to stock as possible. The DexiDisk feature is neat, but I opted to leave it off. It seems to attach via double-sided stickers and there’s an extra set included if needed.

    The construction of the controller is quite good and all of the pieces feel smooth without any noticeable jagged edges. Despite the lower cost than competing companies, nothing feels cheap on this controller. I’m still getting used to the ClickSticks and they work as advertised. I just have to train myself and remember that they are at my disposal. Everything about this controller is comfortable and easy to use. If you’re in the market to customize your PS4 controller, I highly recommend checking out The Controller People.

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    Saitek P880 Dual Analog PC Gamepad
    Developed by: Saitek
    Retail price: $20
    System Requirements: - Windows 98/ME/2000/XP - CD-ROM drive - USB port
    Features: - 2 analog sticks - 1 8-way d-pad - 6 face buttons - 2 trigger buttons - 2 analog (PS2-style) buttons - 10 buttons plus a shift key = 20 programmable buttons - Easy-to-use mapping software - A cool-looking glowing blue light on the gamepad - A 2-year manufacturer?s warranty

    With the mass popularity of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, more gamers have become used to the control and feel of dual analog controllers. So it was only a matter of time before manufacturers would begin to create dual analog controllers for the PC. Unfortunately, some of these controllers have been of poor quality or bad programming. A particularly egregious example is the Logitech Dual Analog controller, which despite the reputable brand has nevertheless been plagued by mechanical and software issues. Saitek, meanwhile, has created a surprisingly-good controller that retails for only $20.

    The P880 is laid out much like an Xbox controller and the analog sticks are well-constructed and responsive. The manual explains in detail how to install the software, and the CD does the rest for you. The game's programmable buttons are one of the controller's stronger features. By going into the 'Profile Editor,' you can click on any button or control unit on the gamepad and map it out to something else. The game allows mapping through both a menu-driven selection process or a simple macro recording tool. For example, clicking on 'button 1' and then pushing the 'F' key will cause the F key to be pressed every time you push button one. It is a great feature for games that use keyboard hotkeys, and in theory the Profile Editor can even allow you to use the gamepad in a game that doesn't have joystick capability.

    I tested the P880 with two games, Morrowind (a first-person RPG) and Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos (a space pirate flight sim). At first I had some small difficulties with Morrowind, which owed more to Morrowind's own scheme than Saitek's controller. Namely, the right analog stick - which handles where your player looks - was inverted, where pushing up and down caused the character to look left and right, and vice versa. But with a small change in the morrowind.ini file, I was able to remedy the problem, and now the game handles as it would on the Xbox. With Morrowind's robust control configuration system was able to handle my 10 buttons, and I used the Saitek Profile Editor to map out my shifted buttons, including those for quick save and quick load. (NOTE: Saitek released a downloadable profile configuration for Morrowind, but I could not get it to work correctly. Fortunately, I didn't need it.)

    Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos is a space sim designed primarily to be played with a flight joystick with a hat. This translated well into a dual analog system, and with some changes to I-War's control scheme, as well as a couple of mapped buttons through the Profile editor, I was able to tweak and refine the controls into something I could use. By mapping out the fire button to the left trigger and using the left analog for movement and the right analog for throttle, I was able to create a versatile system that let me maneuver almost as easily as I could with a flight stick.

    There are only a couple of minor quibbles one might have with this controller. It is a budget-minded controller, meaning it has no force feedback (rumble feature) and no wireless capability. Also, the Profile Editor looks more intimidating than it is - some gamers may be hesitant to play with it, but it works quite easily and can really beef up a game's controls. And finally, I had some difficulty mapping out the mouse to the analog stick. Although the profile editor allows it, I kept having issues getting it to work correctly, and I'm not sure if that owes to my operating system (Windows ME), my mouse driver, or the Saitek program itself. Others, though, have been able to get it to work correctly without any problem.

    Overall, I think this controller is one of the best values for your money currently on the dual-analog market. The controls are sharp and the versatility and customizability is boundless. And although I have only had the controller for a relatively short time, the message boards assert that this is one of the more durable controllers out there, and it does come with a two-year replacement warranty. If you are in the market for a good all-around gamepad, this is an easy choice, and can be found at many major retailers at the time of this review, including Circuit City and Best Buy. Highly recommended.

    Pros: - Solid construction and stable software. - Good calibration and crisp handling. - Easy-to-use, but comprehensive, customization abilities. - Relatively cheap.
    Cons: - No wireless or rumble features. - Some PS2 owners may dislike the face button layout. - Some tweaking and adjustments required for tested games. - Some difficulties mapping out the mouse to the analog stick.

    Overall Score: 90%

  • boxart
    Hardware Info:

    Snakebyte idroid:con
    Compatible with: Android, iOS, PC (possibly more, must be BlueTooth 3.0 compatible)
    Six different emulation modes: PS3 controller mode, Xbox controller mode (sort of), iCade mode, keyboard emulation mode, mouse emulation mode, keyboard+mouse emulation mode
    Extra features: Programmable turbo mode; analog/d-pad axis swap button
    Other notable features: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery built in, charged with Mini-USB; wireless via BlueTooth 3.0; PS3 controller layout with analog triggers (if in Xbox controller mode)
    MSRP: $39.99

    Thank you Snakebyte for sending us this controller for review!

    As a long time tech-lover, and having immersed myself for over a decade in the Open Source world, I have always had a soft spot for the Linux-based Android.  Since its explosion in popularity in the last few years, I have been proud to own and use Android devices every day since.  These include my phone and tablet, and now also work phone (no more Blackberry, yay!) being built on the quickly growing platform.  Being an open ecosystem versus its tightly-controlled competition, there has been both a vibrant software community and a growing peripheral market.  Snakebyte has sent us their entry into the Android compatible gamepad market.

    While the vast majority of software on Android is used with a primarily touch-based interface, more and more software is taking advantage of that open nature, and supports gamepad peripherals.  Unfortunately, as open platforms go, there is no such thing as a single 'standard'.  Each manufacturer is attempts to deal with this in different ways.  Some just emulate a standard PS3 controller (since Android 4.0 they are natively supported), while others try to offer something more.  For some manufacturers, this may include custom software which tries to emulate a touch interface with a gamepad.  Snakebyte takes a different approach.  Rather than making custom software, they make it so that their hardware supports six different controller modes, each based on a popular standard.  They felt that this way they could support as much as possible without needing to keep software up to date.  And they mostly succeed.

    Most games that support gamepads natively use HID (Human Interface Device) mode.  In this mode, the games look at the attached controllers and use the ones that implement what buttons and axis they are looking for.  The main mode, accessed by pressing power+X on the controller when turning it on, is the standard mode that most closely emulates the PS3 controller.  The only button missing is the PS button, which is not needed for gaming, as you just exit the game when pressed.  Most of this review was done in this mode.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points:  Built-in Li-Ion battery; standard mini-USB charging port; very comfortable; many different controller emulation modes; supports Android and iOS officially, and also works on PC
    Weak Points:  Seemed to timeout quickly on me sometimes (could just be my tablet); No custom software for touch or specific keystroke emulation

    I played several games, including Shine Runner, Dead Trigger, and others.  I was very pleased with its performance.  I did find it to lag a couple of times, but it could have been my device since it seemed to go away.  I also was rather disappointed as certain games by some developers, like DotEmu, who make classic game ports that were converted from physical controllers in the first place, did not work well with this controller.  But others, including some not listed on Snakebyte's compatibility page, worked flawlessly.

    One selling point of this controller, as you might expect, is game emulation support.  Legal gray area or not, it does make sense in the emulation friendly platform its targeting.  And it works exceptionally well at this task.  I prefer RetroArch, which is an excellent Open Source emulator which supports most common, and not so common, platforms.  It also makes extra effort to support as many gamepads as possible, and in this area, they did not disappoint.  

    I do not have any games that require keyboard or iCade mode, at least that I know of.  But those modes, while not really useful to me, did work with key presses as expected.  Evidently, iCade emulates keyboard key presses as well, as that's what I saw while trying it in a text editor.  I do not have any iOD devices to test it on.  Snakebyte also warns that the keyboard must be set to US English for the device to work properly.

    While testing it, I was curious what a PC would see when connecting to the idroid:con.  Well, it turns out that depending on the chosen mode, it's a standard HID gamepad, or a HID keyboard, or a HID mouse, or some combination of those, for the various combo modes.  The Xbox 360 emulation mode does not show up as an Xinput device, but all of the buttons function as the original would.  A directInput to Xinput converter/emulator would likely work as desired if you wanted to use this gamepad as such on the PC.  And the buttons are labeled the same as the Xbox as well.  But I did not test this.

    I find this controller to be quite comfortable.  Looking at it, I was afraid that the buttons might feel cheaper than the PS3 controller, for example, despite a similar layout.  And while it indeed doesn't feel quite as premium as those console controllers, in practice, I was pleased with their performance.  The D-pad, which is notoriously difficult to get right, does an admirable job.  While not quite up to Nintendo standards, I rarely felt like the controller got in the way, which is more than can be said with many other D-pads these days.  It's also a nice touch that the power button doubles as a swap for the D-pad and the left analog stick, in case you have a preference one way or the other, for games that don't use both.  I also found the longer-than-PS3 hand grips to be very comfortable in real-world use.  At least with my large hands, I found them it to be more comfortable than the controller that the design was clearly inspired by.

    I have only a few complaints.  Occasionally, it would seem to disconnect or power off a bit more quickly than I wanted.  Once I reconnected, it seemed to work okay after that.  Also, at first I noticed that sometimes there would be appreciable lag in the response from the keypresses.  It might have just been my tablet acting up; perhaps I rebooted it, I'm not sure, but this problem seemed to go away during more extended use.  An ability to customize the keystrokes that the keyboard mode emulates would have been really useful, but since this controller strives to be the first Android/iOS controller with no software whatsoever, there's little that can be done about that.  Another small complaint is that you need to unpair and re-pair the device every time you switch modes.  It makes sense why this is so, but it's a slight hassle when using it.

    Many games that use a single click mouse mode, like Angry Birds, can be played using the mouse mode.  But unless your phone or tablet is hooked up to your PC, I see little reason to do that.  But it did work in my testing.

    I have to admit, I like this little controller.  While it is not perfect, as clearly seen above, it does its job being a dedicated Android controller, and it's comfortable in the process.  I think it's worth the reasonable price.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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